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  • Writer's pictureKelley Castlin-Gacutan

Remembering Rodney

It was on this day 18 years ago that my life changed forever. I lost my husband and best friend, Rodney, to gun violence.

What better way to remember Rodney than to celebrate his life with Kennrod students and the residents of Sunrise Senior Living! Rodney was full of life, love, and serving others. He understood that it’s better to give than to receive and he enjoyed bringing laughter to those around him. In this very moment, I can envision his bright smile and how he had a way of lighting up a room.

Kennrod students, Coach Heard, and I had an amazing time this evening! We listened closely as the residents told us about their careers and they were proud to do it as evident by their keen memories. One man spoke about being a salesman for Wrangler Jeans for 40 years. He told us about how he traveled all over the country selling jeans and how much he enjoyed it. One woman told us about being a human resources executive for JP Morgan and how she started as a college intern and worked her way to the highest level of management. Another woman told us about her background in journalism and how much she enjoyed being a newspaper writer in Virginia and Florida. Other stories included people who were a pilot, teachers, homemakers, seamstress, and someone who enjoyed playing cowboys and Indians with siblings. It was fascinating to think about the collective years of service among the group. The experience reminded me of how much I enjoyed being with my grandparents as a child and listening to their stories from long ago. Storytelling is one of those sweet traditions that never goes out of style.

We concluded our evening as Coach Heard played “O Holy Night” on the guitar, as well as other holiday favorites. Ms. Sophia joined in also by sharing her beautiful voice. How wonderful it was to see everyone singing, laughing, and having a great time…just as Rodney would have wanted it to be!

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